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Archive for January, 2008

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Jan
19
2008

Baby, it's cold outside! Plus a recipe.

 winter.jpg

And apparently, there is snow just an our East of here.  How unfair does that seem?? My kiddos would love a little dusting of white just every now and again.  I really dont know how cold it was at the lowest this morning but it is just above freezing at this moment.  And according to weather.com it will be a chilly 25 tonight.  YIKES!  So happy tomorrow is Sunday and no one has to go to work early. 

Don’t forget the giveaway is Monday!! 

I think maybe finally I might be beginning to grieve a little from the loss of my mom.  I know I initially grieved as anyone does but I am “feeling” it a little more these days. When she died I told myself I a) was not sad because no one should have to live like she was living b)I had nearly 6 months to prepare myself for her passing and c) I really never saw anyone grieve before so I didn’t really know what to expect from myself. My family tended to ignore the grieving process and jump right back into things.  Good or bad, that’s just how it has always been.  And with Husband’s family as well.  Add up the lull after the holidays, the dreariness of winter time – dark and damp and dull, my husband being 6000 miles away, really feeling like I need a new focus business-wise and not knowing which way I want to turn.  I am afraid my worst days are ahead where the feeling of loss is concerned. Everything I do, make, cook, plan…I think of her. Oddly, I don’t think I thought of her this much when she was alive and just across the road. It makes me want to live my life to the fullest with no regrets yet, in the past few days I have felt it very hard to be motivated. Mom never allowed herself the pleasure of a vacation and she never considered herself good at things like sewing and crafting. She lived vicariously though me in those areas. Everything I have made since her passing, I have wished to be able to show her because she got so much pleasure from things I made. Our upcoming vacation to Europe is one she longed for but would never take the time or spend the money. I saw as she was dying that she wished for so many things. She told me over and over and over…do the things you long to do, life is too short. I think the feeling of loss and separation has taken a hold of me just a bit.  But three months in seems a little late to crawl in the bed and cry for days doesn’t it?  I have often believed that I have SAD (seasonal affective disorder) but you have no idea how I hate labels.  I think these next couple of weeks might firm up that diagnosis.  I suppose if you came here for a chippy, happy post today you stopped off a the wrong blog.  I will try to do better but at this moment I just can’t.  But what I can do to make this a little less depressed is leave you with a recipe.  Then I have to go accomplish something.  The cleaning is going very very slowly.  And I have GOT to get these aprons finished and out the door!  Shame on me for dragging my feet.  Dragging my feet only makes me feel worse.  Vicious little circle isnt it?  Talk to you all soon. 

This is a recipe I have had for a long time but haven’t made.  I am going to give it a try tonight.  Don’t know how I feel about the mashed potatoes and may end up slicing them instead and layering with the leeks (or onions if I cant get leeks). It just seems like a fitting, comfort food. 

Cottage Pie 

Filling
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef or stew meat cubed
2 onions, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced or cooked carrot, diced
1  ounce butter
1 cup cooked English peas (optional – Husband can’t abide and English pea, I think I will serve ours on the side)
1 teaspoon dried herbs of your choice but we like thyme, chives and basil
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces beef stock  or a couple of beef bouillion cubes in a cup of boiling water

salt  and pepper to taste

Cottage Pie Topping
2 pounds  potatoes, peeled and cut into small even sized pieces
2  large leeks, cleaned sliced into rings or sweet onions if you cant get leeks
2 ounces butter
2-4 tablespoons milk
4 ounces mature farmhouse cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste

To make the pie filling:.
Fry the onions and carrots if using, in the butter until they are becoming soft.
Add the beef and cook for about 10 to 20 minutes or until the onion and carrot have browned and the beef has taken on some color and is firm.  Season well with salt and pepper, then add the mixed herbs. Stir in the flour, and mix well. Mix the tomato puree and Worcestershire sauce with the beef stock and add it to the meat mixture, bringing it all to simmering point. Simmer until the stock has reduced by about a third, add the peas if using and take off the heat. Set aside while  you make the topping.

To make the topping:
Boil the potatoes in slightly salted water then mash them well, adding half of the butter and all of the milk gradually. Season to taste. If using fresh leeks, fry the leeks gently in the remaining butter, until soft and slightly colored.  Stir the cooked leeks into the mashed potato mixture and mix well.

Assemble:.
Put the meat mixture into a large and deep well greased baking dish and spread the potato mixture on top; then sprinkle with the grated cheese. You can also use 4 – 6 smaller pie dishes if you wish.   Put into a pre-heated oven 400F for about 25 to 30 minutes until the topping is crusty, golden and bubbling.

Jan
16
2008

Typical Winter morning here.

Gloomy and wet.  A good excuse to stay in and get that first room finished.  And some sewing done.  I have an order to get out of here ASAP! And another little something I am working on. So this is just a short and sweet “Good Morning” to you all.  I will post as I make progress – on all my endeavors.  Don’t forget to take a peek over at TheFarmHouseGourmet and get the recipe for Macaroons.  I will be in touch!  Happy Wednesday.  Oh!  And don’t forget you still have time to enter the giveaway!

Now here is your picture for today:

camellia.jpg

Jan
15
2008

Organization

What exactly does that mean to me? Does it mean I can find what I need or what someone asks me for? I think I have set a goal for myself. I will have my house organized by the time my husband returns on Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is VERY special to us. It is the anniversary of our first date 33 years ago. And it is our Benjamin’s birthday. And one very special gift for my very organized, together husband would be for him to walk thru the door and not recognize the house because it was so organized. And I know my life would be oh so easier if I had myself together. Today is haircut, eye appt day but tomorrow I am starting at the North East corner of my house and doing one section at the time. I am going to TAKE MY TIME AND DO IT RIGHT. There will be numerous trips to the dump as well as the storage building. I am going to stop each day before I get so tired I won’t want to finish. I want to do it in sections, stand back and admire my accomplishments and the next day move on to the next section. Now this does NOT include the children’s rooms. They are all old enough to do that themselves. So in this very small house surely I can do it in a month’s time. My shoppe will be first. OH lawd…what a mess. I kid you not, I would show you a picture but I am too embarrassed! It’s bad…ask Michelle! But I will show you as I am finished. Every nook and cranny, every closet, every cabinet, every shelf will be cleaned and dusted and straightened and rid of no longer needed/wanted items. And I will know where everything is – it will be in it’s place!

Wish me luck!

Oh…and I posted the recipe for macaroons over at TheFarmhouseGourmet.

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